Why Healing is Like Brushing Your Teeth
Over the years I've met many people (and been one of them too) who are trying to find a quick fix for therapy. We can get most things almost instantaneously these days, so of course we apply that mindset towards healing. Thing is, it often doesn't work that way. Not only is there no silver bullet or cure all therapy, these things also usually take time and most importantly, practice.
Healing and emotional hygiene, are a daily practice - similar to brushing your teeth.
Yeah, I know, brushing your teeth isn't always the highlight of my day either. But think about how terrible it would be if we didn't ever brush our teeth at all? Well, if we apply that logic to our mental health it's no wonder many of us feel overwhelmed, depressed or just plain scrambled. This can happen from overloading our schedules with too many things and not enough down time. It can also happen from suppressing our true feelings.
Many of us learned early on that some emotions are 'good' and some are 'bad'.
The 'good' ones like joy garner acceptance, love and positive attention from our peers, and the 'bad' ones such as anger are not acceptable in public and result in scolding, rejection, shame etc. So we learn to judge our emotions and suppress some of them from an early age. Because we often suppress them, some of us don't know how to handle them or solve them (even better) as they arise.
As adults lots of us have become pros at silencing our inner voice (intuition, gut, inner child -whatever you choose to call it) or stuffing down our feelings if they're perceived as negative. We're so good at it we don't even notice sometimes, as we minimize traumas and tuck them away. And while that offers temporary relief, a survival mechanism, those feelings don't actually go away. Instead they come out later or manifest in our actions, often in destructive ways.
Clearing those emotions, traumas and tending to them as one would a physical wound can allow the emotional body to have a reset. Guy Winch performed a fantastic speech on this topic here, in which he talked about emotional hygiene and the need for change in perspective on mental health.
Part of emotional hygiene is allowing your emotions to come out (go to a private place if necessary). Your body is telling you something. Listen to your inner voice and negotiate with it if you need to. For many years I didn't listen to my inner voice because I didn't like what it had to say. While I was traveling in Peru for some deep work I realized: I don't have to agree with my inner voice - but I do need to listen to it. Sometimes that's all it needs, to be heard. You can't run from it, even if you stuff it down or silence it, it returns because it's a part of you.
Listen to yourself, send love to yourself and have compassion for yourself.
Having compassion is one of the greatest gifts a person can give. It's important to give to yourself too, because it's the key to forgiveness and we often carry around shame for things we've done in the past.
Give yourself permission to try a variety of therapies that can give you long-term relief and release. It shows a lot of strength (not weakness) to face your fears, demons, and develop yourself.
"You can't serve your loved ones if your cup is empty", as a friend once said to me. The more you have, the more you have to give. And if you're healed, you can give more joy, more compassion and more light to those around you.
As mentioned earlier, there isn't a silver bullet out there for healing so if one thing didn't work for you in the past, just try something else. There are so many different forms of therapies, it's fascinating, and part of what's drawn me to the field of healing.
Wishing you a peaceful road, wherever it may take you <3